Meet Jared and Michele.
He is a Chef, she is a retail clerk. They are my good friends I had the opportunity to spend four days with them recently on a mini-vacation at their home in Morro Bay, California. Their claim to fame? They are possibly the most content people I know.
Their Facebook posts are always positive. They will sit and tell you how wonderful they have it. They offer their food and hospitality without reservation, and always make sure you take something home that they “picked up in town” because it reminded them of you.
The only reason this might seem out of the ordinary is because they live in a small motorhome at a state campground where they are hosts.
Because they are camp hosts they have access to firewood. They are hooked up to running water and electricity, but don’t buy propane very often because they grill over an open fire. Hot water for washing dishes or cleaning is heated over the fire as well. Cleaning up is done at the campground showers. Communication is on basic cell phones with prepaid cards. Wi-fi is sporadic at best. Their secondary vehicle is currently not running. Jared spends two to four hours a day selling firewood and handling minor issues in exchange for the campsite and hookups. They both work part time to pay for food and other necessities. Since they work very close to the campsite they take public transportation to and from work.
Unlike almost everyone else I know, they actually enjoy their jobs. Within five minutes of conversation you will hear from them how beautiful life is. Michele will tell you how much happier they are now that they are somewhere “with oxygen in the air” as opposed to a big city. While I was there we hiked to the top of a large hill near the campground with a 100-mile view of the ocean and surrounding hills. “Welcome to my backyard” she said while smiling.
The work-spend treadmill is at best stressful. While I was with them I felt no tension or anger. It was beyond relaxing.
I realize it was a vacation. My personal challenge is to bring that peace back with me for inspiration. Our mission, fellow minimalists, is to find what we need to do to obtain that tranquility.
Consider that two people – younger than me, by the way – can find peace and harmony under conditions most of society would deem rough at best. Now think about all the clutter and “stuff” you have polluting your lives. All the bills, all the commitments, all the pressures. I always preach that you should eliminate the things you don’t need. Now I’m starting to believe that, just maybe, you should eliminate some things you do need.